Last week, our Rough Sleepers Intervention Team in Cardiff helped 35 people in a single day. Rough sleeping is as much of an issue during the summer months as in the winter, yet many people are surprised to hear this.
The RSIT leaves from our emergency Nightshelter in Cardiff at 7am every day to deliver hot food, give support and advice to those who sleep on the city’s streets. On average, during the summer the team helps between 20 and 30 homeless people a day.
“There was a few nights in a row where it rained so much, I was soaked through – even through my sleeping bag. It was terrible. “
The Nightshelter was saved from closure earlier this year thanks to the generosity of local people and businesses, and it continues to support rough sleepers every day. As well as providing a bed for the night, staff and volunteers plan learning activities for those who stay overnight. With nearly one in three rough sleepers spending every day alone, the chance to partake in activities is a welcome break from their usual routine.
Staff recently held an Italian-themed cookery class, for residents from the Nightshelter and one of our other Hostels in Cardiff. As well as learning how to make spaghetti bolognese from scratch, residents also learned about food hygiene practices, healthy eating and cooking on a budget – independent living skills which will help their move back into stable accommodation.
Fresh tomatoes from the Nightshelter’s own garden were used to make the sauce. Residents planted an edible garden earlier in the summer and are keen to use the produce to make their evening meals. Gareth, the manager at the Nightshelter – and also an ex-chef – is planning to hold a dough-making class where residents can learn how to make pasta dough and pizza bases.
As well as a proper cooked meal, residents at the Nightshelter can take a hot shower, use the laundry facilities and access a support worker who can signpost them to longer-term solutions to escape the streets. Needs assessments and support plans are produced, residents are given help with benefits and liaison takes place with healthcare staff and criminal justice agencies. Residents are also allowed to bring their pets to stay with them as The Wallich acknowledges that many people would rather stay on the streets, than give up their beloved dog. We work with the Dog’s Trust to ensure they have everything they need to take care of their pet.
The nightshelter provides 12 beds of emergency accommodation in the Riverside area of Cardiff, which residents can usually access between the hours of 7:30pm -9:30am.